With 2018 Local Government elections fast approaching, Tasmanians once again have the opportunity to weigh in on the future of their communities, but concerns have been raised over voter turnout numbers.
Only 54 percent of the state voted at the last Local Government elections, with over 170 thousand eligible voters not engaging.
At the same election, 73 percent of people aged over 65 returned their ballots whereas less than one third of people aged between 18 and 34 voted.
Tasmania is divided into 29 council areas, each responsible for determining and responding to the needs and priorities of their local community. They are the closest level of government to the public, and manage services including waste, roads, public spaces and developments.
Current Launceston Alderman, Janie Finlay, said voters can impact the decision making process in their local area.
“There is a massive opportunity, particularly for young people to be involved and to engage in the voting process,” Alderman Finlay said.
“You have a chance to shape the future of the community you live in.”
Unlike state and federal elections, voting in Local Government elections is not compulsory – a key factor in the low voter turnout.
However, nearly 80 percent of Tasmanians voted in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey late last year which was also not compulsory.
Much like the postal survey, forms are sent directly to each voters’ residential address. Completed ballots need to be mailed back to the Tasmanian Electoral Commission.
All Tasmanians over the age of 18 are eligible to vote this October. Voters must ensure they have signed up to the electoral roll before it closes at 6pm on Thursday September 13.
You can enrol to vote online to have your say. If you have recently moved to Tasmania or within the state, you will need to update your enrolment. You can also check your enrolment to see which council area you are registered to vote in.
Candidates for each municipality will be announced on September 25 with ballot papers to be returned by October 30.
Every vote is important.